HC Deb 09 April 1946 vol 421 cc1773-4
9. Mr. Sidney Shephard

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that licences for the building of village halls are refused by his Department; and, in view of the urgent need for these community centres, if he will reconsider the matter.

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, Sir. It has been necessary in the existing difficult circumstances to refuse licences for the building of village halls in a number of cases, but such applications are sympathetically considered, if the work can be undertaken without prejudice to more urgent projects such as the provision of housing accommodation or other work of high priority. It is the practice to consult the local housing authority before granting or refusing a licence for this purpose.

Mr. Shephard

While appreciating that houses must come first, may I ask if the Minister is aware that there is a real and urgent need for community centres in villages, and will be give an assurance that they will be given equal priority to schools?

Mr. Tomlinson

I cannot give any assurance regarding equal priority, but I can assure the hon. Member that we realise the urgency, and wherever possible are meeting requests of this kind.